Lanny Davis Quits Bush's Civil Liberties Watch Dog Board

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Board was created as a result of the 9/11 Commission Report. First, President Bush dragged his feet and waited a year to name any members to the Board. Then, he named the members, including former Clinton official Lanny Davis.

Last week, the Board submitted its first report which was vetted by the White House.

Yesterday, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek reports that Lanny Davis resigned from the Board.


At the same time, Davis, a former Clinton White House official who had been named by President Bush to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, sent a letter to the White House and his fellow board members protesting the panel’s lack of independence. In recent months, Davis has had numerous clashes with fellow board members and White House officials over what he saw as administration attempts to control the panel’s agenda and edit its public statements, according to board members who asked not to be identified talking about internal matters. He also cited in his letters criticisms by the former co-chairs of the September 11 commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, that the board had interpreted its mandate too narrowly and was refusing to investigate issues such as the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world.

Davis’s frustration reached a peak last month when White House lawyers engaged in what he described in his letter as “substantial” edits of the board’s annual report to Congress. Davis charged that the White House sought to remove an extensive discussion of recent findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general of FBI abuses in the uses of so-called “national security letters” to obtain personal data on U.S. citizens without a court order. He also charged that the White House counsel’s office wanted to strike language stating that the panel planned to investigate complaints from civil liberties groups that the Justice Department had improperly used a “material witness statute” to lock up terror suspects for lengthy periods of time without charging them with any crimes.

In other words, this Board was not an independent watchdog or overseer. It was a whitewash.

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    Dog bites man (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 15, 2007 at 11:05:38 AM EST
    Demo doesn't like report vetted  by Repubs....

    Well, he should quit before he goes to work for Hillary, shouldn't he? ;-)

    the committee was supposed to be independent ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Tue May 15, 2007 at 12:20:54 PM EST
    ... not a political arm of the WH.

    sailor (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 15, 2007 at 01:15:05 PM EST
    And can I tell you about the Easter Bunny?

    Have you wrote a letter to Santa Claus??

    Of course it's political. Davis was just on the losing side.